Posts Tagged ‘epl’

The ECB has, somewhat out of character, done something that makes sense and decided that having two county Twenty20 competitions might be a little over the top, scrapping the proposed ‘P20’ league format (which was itself an alternative to the ‘EPL’ city-franchise-based competition which was previously favoured by some) in favour of expanding the existing Twenty20 Cup.

There would have been considerable foolhardiness in persisting with two twenty-over competitions in the face of waning support from the counties (which predictably faded further after it became apparent that there wasn’t as much money to be made as had previously been thought) and a general feeling that the format is reaching saturation point. According to the BBC, the expanded competition will span the whole season with most matches played on Thursdays, Fridays and at weekends, which also makes sense. In fact, the whole thing is so plausible and seemingly well-thought-out that it’s a little disconcerting.

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Way back in April, when the Indian Premier League was hogging all the cricketing headlines and ‘recession‘ was something Shane Warne wanted to avoid happening to his hairline, the ECB were drafting plans for an English (and Welsh) version of the IPL.

The new structure of the county season from 2010 onwards was announced in July with two 10-team divisions including ‘guest’ overseas teams. Those plans have now been radically scaled back, partly due to the global economic situation and partly due to a seeming lack of interest.

The new model is to be called, apparently, P20 rather than the EPL, to avoid confusion with (and legal action from) the footballing equivalent. It will be interesting to watch over the next few months to what degree other plans around the world for copycat IPL-style competitions will be similarly put on hold.

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End of the Kolpak era

It seems time is up for the Kolpaks. 2009 could be the last year that Kolpaks are prevalent, with numbers tailing off from then onwards due to recent changes in the interpretation of EU law.

This should be good news for young English players as regards four-day cricket, but the opposite trend will be observed in the newest form of the game, with counties adding extra overseas players for the ‘EPL’ from 2010 onwards. The net effect is likely to be an increase in the quality, or at least in the ‘marquee-value’ of overseas players in English (and Welsh) cricket. What price Afridi batting alongside Flintoff for Lancashire?

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Tomorrow’s Twenty20 Cup finals day at the Rose Bowl will take place under the shadow of two other events to which the participating teams may or may not be invited.

Firstly, the two finalists would in theory have qualified for the now postponed Twenty20 Champions League, although Kent and Durham wouldn’t have been eligible due to their scandalous fielding of players who took part in an Indian 20/20 League which had the wrong initial in the middle. Now, however, they will qualify for the not-entirely-different ECB-backed Twenty20 Champions League. This new competition will presumably allow Kent and Durham to take part should those teams make it to the final, thus ensuring that the world’s cricket fans will not be unnecessarily denied the opportunity to watch Rob Key play.

In addition to this, the winners will qualify for the potential cash bonanza that is the Stanford Super Series, where they will play against Stanford 20/20 winners Trinidad & Tobago, the Stanford Superstars, and England, all for big money.

Without even taking into account the EPL, English cricket has gone Twenty20-mad. Or should that be money-mad?

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After months of speculation, the structure of the new-look English (and Welsh) Twenty20 League has been unveiled. The ECB, which was not in favour of some of the more radical proposals, unanimously agreed on the plan, which will be implemented from 2010.

Pro 40 will be scrapped, as many hoped, to make way for two Twenty20 competitions, as far as I can make out after 11 hours at work.

Firstly, there is the EPL (clever name, eh?), which will have a two-division structure. Each division would feature 10 teams, meaning there will be two ‘open’ slots for overseas teams as well as the existing 18 counties.

In addition, there will be a separate Twenty20 League, exclusively for the counties. Matches will be played ‘primarily on Friday nights in July and August’, and the competition will feed into the Champions League. Precisely why this is needed in addition to the ‘EPL’ is not entirely clear.

If this is confusing, let Giles Clarke explain it for you.

This is pretty much what I expected, given the overwhelmingly negative response to the radical MCC-backed plan for IPL-style city-based franchises to replace the counties. Whether the new league(s) will live up to the hype, we will have to wait and see.

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